SPA-tlight: Elie Biel

Elie Biel, Head Squash Professional, Lifetime Fitness, Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Elie Biel SPAtlightAt what age and where did you first pick up a squash racquet?
I first learned the game when I was 18, during the fall of my freshman year at the University of Rochester.

Who was your first teacher?
Dave Kay. We met playing tennis one day and he encouraged me to try the game. After an hour or two on a squash court I was hooked. I haven’t looked back since.

Did you play other sports?
I grew up playing tennis, baseball, and soccer. And, being from Minnesota, I also enjoyed skiing.

Can you talk about how working for a large company like Life Time differs from other clubs?
I have the best of both worlds at Life Time—Target Center. I have the autonomy and independence that one would expect of a small club, but also the resources and support of a large fitness facility. Most Life Time members do not join specifically to play squash, but once exposed to the sport they frequently become an active part of the squash community. Because of the vast number of Life Time members, especially in the Twin Cities, I’m able to grow and promote squash more effectively than I would if I worked at a small, more specialized squash club.

Describe the state of squash in Minnesota?
Minnesota is a rapidly growing squash community. We have nearly a dozen squash facilities in and around the Twin Cities, with additional plans for expansion in the next couple of years. We have a very successful urban squash program, called Beyond Walls, which is helping promote squash at the junior level. The University of Minnesota now has Men’s and Women’s teams in the CSA. And, thanks to the Minnesota Squash Association and the Commodore Squash Club, we just launched a city-wide team league that has drawn an amazing amount of interest from players of all skill levels.

Needless to say, it’s an exciting time to be a squash player in the Twin Cities!

Do you still play competitively?
Yes. I play in a couple of local leagues and tournaments throughout the year.

Favorite PSA or WSA player?
Martin Heath. Great player, great coach, and a great friend.

Favorite squash shot?
Drop shot.